Senegal and Algeria will meet in the final of the African Cup of Nations
CAIRO: Sadio mane Senegal and one side of Algeria captained by Riyad mahrez will try to secure its place in the history of the African Cup of Nations in Friday's final in Cairo.
Senegal, the runner-up of 2002, is desperate to end a long wait for a first continental title, while Algeria looks to add to the trophy that rose as hosts 29 years ago.
For Senegal, the best-ranked side of Africa, the trip to the final has found its greatest number of obstacles on the road, but there is no doubt that the main piece at the Cairo International Stadium with a capacity of 75,000 people will have the two most outstanding teams of the tournament.
A goal from Youcef Belaili gave Algeria a 1-0 victory when the countries met in the group stage, but this time there is no second chance with the immortality of the Nations Cup awaiting the winner.
If you reach the final, the goal is obviously to win it. The game in the group stage was not decisive, but now it is and that is the difference, said the head of Algeria. Djamel Belmadi .
Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse He is on a personal redemption mission, as the team captain was beaten on penalties in the 2002 final, when his failed kick handed him the title to Cameroon.
Having lost that final, I still have it in mind, said Cisse. What motivated me to become a coach was to be able to take Senegal to the final. My players told me that they would do better than my generation.
Algeria is a great team and we respect them, he added. We are in the final now and determined to win.
The Liverpool star, Mane, hopes to fulfill his wildest dream as one of the few Africans who won both the UEFA Champions League and the Nations Cup.
I am ready to change a Champions League for a Nations Cup. Going to Dakar with the trophy would be extraordinary. It would be my wildest dream, Mane told France Football before the competition.
However, an Algerian team on the road has undergone a remarkable transformation since the arrival of Belmadi as coach a year ago.
The Desert Foxes fell out of the 2017 edition in the first round and failed in the World Cup qualifying, but former Qatari boss Belmadi has cured divisions in the team to bring his nation to the brink of a first continental crown in foreign land.
For the Algerian people, I want to say that I am not a politician, neither a miracle nor a magician, but that we will fight as we have fought up to this point, said Belmadi after the semifinal victory by 2-1. about nigeria
Algeria owed that victory to an impressive and unexpected free throw by Mahrez, who is looking forward to more honors here after a national triple with Pep Guardiola The Manchester City.
We are very happy to be in the final of the African Cup of Nations because it is something very special, Mahrez said.
Our goal was to do it for the people and for our families. We know that you support us at all times. It is my dream to win the Nations Cup.
It will be the first final that will feature two local coaches since 1998, when Mahmoud Egypt El Gohary defeated Jomo Sono and South Africa 2-0 in Ouagadougou.
Senegal had already lost first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy with a broken finger and now must dispense with defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly , who is suspended after two yellow cards in the elimination phase.
The occasion will also mark the climax not only of Algeria's campaign in the field, but also of the recent political campaign of its fans in the stands.
In April, the long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika He resigned after the weekly protests on Friday against his candidacy for the elections, and football fans have actively participated in the demonstrations.
Algeria will have the support of 4,800 additional supporters for the final. Some of them will arrive in Cairo in military aircraft organized by the Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who has also been the target of demonstrations.